In 2006, the Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the 9th meeting of the World Council of Churches and outlined what it means to identify oneself as a Christian (Dr. Rowan Williams). On this blog, we have stated we all should know our identity and it is not in a name only. We have also suggested we must be true to our identity. However, to be true and to hold on to our identity, we must know to what we are being true and holding on. In the Archbishop’s speech, he asked how you would respond if asked to identify yourself. So, I thought it would be good to start our own discussion by asking that same question: if you as a Christian is called on to identify yourself, how would you respond?
“Christian identity is to belong in a place that Jesus defines for us. By living in that place, we come in some degree to share his identity, to bear his name and to be in the same relationships he has with God and with the world.”
When we were born into this world, we naturally identified with Satan because we inherited the nature of Adam. Upon accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, however, we inherited the nature of Jesus. Very few, however, seems to make the transformation from the old to our new identity.
If, as the above quote states, Jesus has designated a place for Christians, should not we strive to be in that place? Romans 12:1 tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Nevertheless, many proclaimed Christians find it easier to continue identifying with Satan instead of working to be transformed in compliance with their new identity.
Transformation, however, is a process we have difficulties understanding. We discussed the process in the book, “Am I a Sinner, Too?” We also thought it would be insightful to refer to George Barna’s research. In his book titled “Maximum Faith,” he identifies and lists ten stops on the transformation journey. He also notes the percentage of the population that is at each stop, which lend support to the statement we made earlier that only a few experience total or near total transformation. [Read more…]
Our name is the first expression of our identity and it helps distinguish us from others. When a baby is born, one of the very first questions asked of the mother and father is, what is the name? We may do a great job describing a person to another, but we are not satisfied until we can give or hear the person’s name. Usually, when a conquer takes others into bondage, one of the first actions is to attempt to strip them of their identity by changing their names and taking away any belongings. Names are important and for many it is most irritating, maybe even an insult, to have their names pronounced incorrectly or even worse, called by another name.
What is in a Name?
When we complete an application or any type of form, the first field we normally complete is our name. In the Biblical days, names were also used to describe the character, meaning or purpose of a person. For instant, Pharaoh’s daughter named Moses, she said because she drew him out of the water (Exodus 2:10). Eve named her third son Seth, she said because God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew (Genesis 4:25). Seth in Hebrew means substitute. Lamech named Noah, saying, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Genesis 5:29). Jacob got his name because he came out of the womb grasping the heel of Esau (Genesis25:26), as in Hebrew, Jacob means heel-catcher.[i]Leah, Jacob’s wife, named her first son Reuben, she said surely the LORD has looked upon my affliction (Genesis 29:32). These are just a few examples of names given to sons because of their character, purpose, behavior or special blessings from God.
One of my favorite country songs is, “The Boy named Sue” by Johnny Cash. What is most intriguing about the song is that it gives no indication the character ever contemplated changing his name, and I have to assume that even though he hated the name, it became an intricate part of his identity.
Our name, however, is not our identity. According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, identity is “sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing or the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.”[ii]Our identity is embodied in our speech, actions, behavior, mannerism and appearance, which we are regardless of our name. Our name is important because it identifies us, but our identity, spiritual or secular, associates us with other individuals, things, organizations or geographical areas. In this writing, the focus is on our spiritual identity, which connects us with either God or Satan. Since you are reading this, I assume you are connected with God and, therefore, encourage you to be true to that identity. To clarify what I mean by being true to our identity, I will spotlight four Hebrew men. [Read more…]
“Whose Daddy is You”
When I was in the seventh grade, I found myself walking to school because I was not feeling well that morning and my mother kept me home. Now, just so you will understand, to stay home, there had to be signs, physical evidence that you were not well. Just saying I do not feel good was not sufficient to miss school. In any case, that day approximately 10:00 AM I felt better and wanted to go on to school. I told my mother I was feeling better and I thought I could walk to school, which was approximately a mile from the house. The road between home and school is a major road even though there is not much traffic on it. The point here is that there were no sidewalks. I had to pass a number of houses and watch for dogs. I got to one house where a man was standing out in front. He looked at me and then asked, “Whose daddy is you?” At that time, that was a strange question for me and I said to myself, “cannot he see I am a young boy. I am nobody daddy.” Therefore, I did not answer, assuming he was drunk or mentally challenged, I walked faster and closer to the other side.
Since becoming an adult, I have thought about that encounter a number of times, wondering why such a question. Now, as I look back on that scene, I realize that he was really asking me who was my daddy. He was trying to identify me. He knew he did not know me but suspected he knew my father and if he knew my father, then he would know to whom I belonged, which would give him some sense of who I am. John describes such an encounter between the Pharisees and Jesus. [Read more…]